Thirty minutes’ rain left our town like this

Flash flooding in Alnwick town centre.
Flash flooding in Alnwick town centre.

There was an indication that something wasn’t quite right when twilight fell at 4pm - but just 30 minutes later, parts of Alnwick were under two feet of water.

The massive thunderstorm storm which swept across Northumberland last Thursday left a trail of destruction in its wake, bringing daily life to a standstill and causing chaos on the roads.

As the clouds rolled in during the afternoon, they cut out so much daylight that motorists were forced to switch on their lights.

And then the rain came, a pelting downpour which burst drains within a matter of minutes causing filthy water to spill out onto the streets.

Shops on Bondgate Within were among the worst hit, while the car park at Greenwell Road became a pond. A number of others properties suffered flooded cellars.

And some householders weren’t so lucky either, with reports of water pouring into homes at Blakelaw Road and Glovers Green, as well as the covered garage beneath Ropery Court.

The Duchess’s Community High School also suffered flood damage, while Lindisfarne Middle School’s kitchen was out of action until Tuesday.

On the roads, the A1 from Newcastle to Berwick was, at times, gridlocked as traffic struggled to deal with the sheer power of the rain.

Even the East Coast Mainline was brought to a standstill, with trains cancelled north of Newcastle because of a landslip on track near Spittal.

Power supply across the county was repeatedly interupted by lightning strikes – one every five seconds at the storm’s peak – which were accompanied by deafening thunder.

Alnwick’s county councillor, Gordon Castle – whose own home was one of those badly flooded – praised the authority’s response in the wake of the storm.

“The council workers did a good emergency response job in the aftermath and we’re now in the process of inspecting all roads and paths in the town,” he said. “I’m also keen to ensure that funding is in place for any works which may arise out of this.

“In all my years living in Alnwick, this storm was of unprecedented ferocity.”